A/N: I wrote this after i read the line from cookie-nookie-chan's Marriage 101 fic. In the third chapter, Toshirou writes Byakuya a note, but only because Matsumoto took his sword ransom. The idea struck me as so funny that I had to write a fic about it! clears throat anyway, here's that fic. It's Karin's soccer game (episode 132, i know you've all seen it!) only I changed it up a bit, as you'll soon find out. A lot of the dialogue is actually straight from the episode. Enjoy!

btw, my beta bailed on me, due to the fact that she's "listless". So, any grammatical errors are promptly HER fault! Haha! Take that!


Ransom

"Matsumoto, now."

"Sorry, Captain! I can't tell you!"

Brows furrowed coldly, "I'm ordering you. Tell me where it's hidden!"

A pause, "I'm denying that order."

"You can't deny a direct order."

"According to the Shinigami Book of Rules, chapter 34, section 3, paragraph 21, I am allowed to deny an order if it's for the good of the Captain," a smug grin. "Especially if the Captain in question doesn't realize it."

Eye twitched, "You didn't even know we had a rule book, Matsumoto! Don't pull that crap on me now!"

"For your information, Captain, I am a very well-read shinigami."

"Well-read," Hitsugaya Toshirou stared at his vice-captain in exasperation and anger. "You are not well-read. I'm willing to bet you just made that up."

Matsumoto beamed, pulling out a large book and dropping it onto the coffee table, where it landed with a loud thud. She opened to chapter 34, then flipped to section 3 and pointed to the right paragraph. Her captain leaned closer to the book, squinting to define the small print. A look of pure disbelief overtook his face, and he scowled at the book.

"Damn writers…" he muttered, straightening. He closed his sea-green eyes and ran a hand through his hair in frustration. "Matsumoto, this is not a situation where you can disobey my direct—" he emphasized the word, trying to pressure her with his position of power to make her yield—"order. If a hollow attacked now, I'd be defenseless."

"Bull," Matsumoto scoffed. "You're lethal anyway."

Hitsugaya took a deep breath to keep his veins from popping out in irritation, "If you don't tell me now, I'll kill you with my bare hands."

"If you kill me, you'll never find it," she warned, dancing just out of his reach. "There's a simple way to get it back, Captain."

He narrowed his eyes as she continued.

"Just go help out Kurosaki Karin's soccer game."


Toshirou ambled over to the soccer field, walking through the dust and dirt to get to his destination, scowling. What kind of captain let their lieutenants hide their things? He was going to be the laughing stock of all Soul Society if this ever got out. But Matsumoto would be dead long before that happened.

The field came into view, and he could practically hear the triumphant music in the background when Karin's team members noticed him. One shouted, and they all crowded around as he stepped onto the grass and leaned against the goal post casually.

Like he was just being nice instead of being forced.

"You're late!" Karin ran up, narrowing her eyes.

Toshirou resisted the urge to scoff, "I didn't promise anything."

The older kids on the other team gathered around as well, and one demanded to know who he was. Karin promptly grinned and whirled around, facing them with a superior look.

"Now we're going to start fighting back!"

Toshirou almost frowned, but kept the slight scowl on his face instead. Since when did he become the amazing soccer player who could save any game?

"Help this far into the game?" the leader of the other team asked, hands on his hips.

Karin ignored him, focusing on revving her own team back up, "Everyone, we're going to catch up all at once!"

"Yeah!" they all shouted, punching the air in unison.

Toshirou blinked, slightly astounded. Clearly this team was willing to take any help they could get, but as he looked at their faces, he realized that they were genuinely excited to have a fighting chance now. Damn Matsumoto for making him do this.

"Hey, wait!" he called to Karin, frowning. "I didn't come here to play soccer!"

A lie. He was forced to play soccer, but maybe, just maybe, he could get away with watching the game instead. Afterwards, he'd force his vice-captain to spill.

Karin turned around, shock and hurt on her face, and opened her mouth to speak. Toshirou wasn't looking at that. Instead, he noticed the large purple bruise on her right knee, gasping in surprise (in a dignified manner, of course).

"You're… hurt?" he asked softly.

She glanced down at the bruise, then back up at him, smiling confidently, "This is nothing!"

Toshirou kept his eyes on the wound. Of course she would say it was nothing. If she was anything like her brother, she would go until she couldn't stand anymore, and still insist she was fine. Damn stubborn brat.

But as he looked at it, he couldn't help but feel guilty. If he had come just a half hour earlier, Karin wouldn't have gotten hurt. He erased the previous reason, now he damned Matsumoto for waiting so long before forcing him to come. Karin clearly was ignoring the bruise, but he knew that it probably pained her to walk even a step on it. But who was he to tell her to stop playing?

"What's wrong?" she eyed him curiously.

Pretending to be a lot less concerned with it than he really was, he shrugged away from the post, "I guess I have no choice," he closed his eyes indifferently. "We just have to win, right?"

Karin nodded once.

Toshirou started walking forward, holding up his hand so Karin's teammate could tag team him into the game. The boy with glasses instantly ran forward, slapping hands while the other boys chattered excitedly about how they would have a chance now.

They lined up, and the whistle rang. Toshirou had never played soccer before, but he wasn't stupid, and quickly picked up on the concept. Basically all he had to do was get the ball into the goal. No using hands, either. He quickly claimed the ball and paused, watching impassively as the middle school kid he had stolen the ball from fell to the ground. The kid glared at him and cussed, but Toshirou pretended not to care. Inside, he wanted to remind this guy of the fact that he had done the exact same thing to Karin. Maybe, if he had stopped the game and helped Karin up, Toshirou might have done the same. As it was, the captain had more pressing matters to attend to.

The kid's teammates were coming on fast, red with anger. Toshirou did some quick maneuvering, easily dribbling around them, and they fell to the ground as well, groaning as if they had done something hard. He almost scoffed at their incompetence, but held back. This match could be won without poisoning the well.

The goal was in sight now, and a strong kick sent the soccer ball soaring towards it. The goalie actually had the guts to try and stop it, but the ball was easily going 80 miles an hour, and he was pushed back a bit before giving into the momentum and falling backwards.

Toshirou stood a good thirty feet from the goal, one hand in his pocket, casually observing as the dust cleared. The whistle blew, and he could hear Karin and her team cheering happily. He dusted his pants off and walked casually back to the middle line, ready to go for another goal. If this was all there was to the game, he could finish in minutes and then kill Matsumoto. The whole ordeal would take him another half hour at most.

Two goals later, the score was 3-4, with the middle school kids winning by a mere point. They seemed to realize that their easy win wasn't going to be so easy anymore, and called for a time-out. Toshirou watched as they grouped together, talking in hushed whispers, throwing occasional glances his way.

Karin ran over to him, beaming, "You're doing really well, Toshirou!"

"It's not exactly rocket science," he responded calmly, putting his hands in his pockets.

She shrugged, "Either way, thanks a lot for helping us out. We were in real trouble until you showed."

Toshirou glanced at her, "Your team doesn't seem to play very well."

"I've been playing a lot longer than they have," Karin answered. "And I would have won us this game, if this hadn't happened," she motioned towards her bruised knee.

Hitsugaya narrowed his eyes, "You need to be more careful."

"It's not my fault that idiot tripped me," Karin stated indignantly, folding her arms.

He opened his mouth to retort, but she silenced him with a finger.

"I just came over to tell you thanks, okay? I don't need a lecture."

"I didn't come willingly."

She started at that, "What?"

"My… friend forced me. She took something of mine, and wouldn't get it back until I helped you guys out."

"So, you didn't come because you wanted to give us a hand?" Karin asked slowly.

He shook his head, "I have better things to do."

Karin frowned slightly, staring at him. Then she waved and turned, "Fine, you can go. If your friend asks, you helped us out, and I'll vouch for you. Don't trouble yourself further by hanging around."

Toshirou blinked, surprised by her answer, "I'm not leaving. The game's not done."

"Didn't you hear me?" Karin whirled back around. "Go, and I'll cover you when your friend comes asking around. We don't need someone who doesn't want to be here helping anyway." She started walking back to the center of the field.

He ran to catch up with her, "I never said I wouldn't help."

"You said you aren't here willingly. So, leave. We don't want you helping us anymore."

Toshirou couldn't fathom that someone was actually turning down his help. He scowled, "I said that, sure, but that doesn't mean I won't stay. Now that I'm here, I may as well help with the game."

Karin stopped walking and faced him, "Will you stop forcing yourself? Just go away."

"I won't."

"Leave!"

"No!"

They glared at each other for a minute, before Karin smirked, "Fine. If you really want to stay, beg."

Toshirou raised his eyebrow.

"Those are your choices. Stay and beg, or get off our field." Karin stood firm.

He hesitated, then sighed, "Karin, please let me stay and help you."

She beamed, "All right then. Come on, time-out's over." And she walked to the center of the field.

Toshirou stood there, confounded. Had he really just said that? How could a mere girl, a mere human girl, get him, the great Captain Hitsugaya, to beg?! He didn't beg for anyone, let alone some girl he had just barely met! But when she suggested leaving, he felt the need to get defensive, angry that she would assume he'd just bail on her. He was here, and he'd be damned if her team didn't win now.

"Oi, Toshirou! Get over here, we're starting!"

Still deep in thought, he ran over and won them another point, bring the score even.

The next goal was tense, as it was the game point. He took control of the ball and dribbled it around, under, and over the opposing team, quickly approaching the goal. Before he had pretty much been on autopilot, still thinking about Karin and how she had manipulated him into begging, of all the condescending things. Now, however, with the game point so close, he noticed that the said girl was running just behind him. He glanced over, still kicking the ball forward.

"Now kick it in!" Karin instructed, coming even with him,

He blinked, then slowed down just enough to pass her the ball. He knew she wouldn't miss the ball. She caught it, keeping it steady between her own feet.

"It's your team. You do it," he told her, and almost smirked at the confused look on her face. She quickly regained her composure, a determined look overtaking the bewildered one. They neared the goal, and a large grin spread as she did a round-house kick, sending the ball straight into the goal.

The goalie dived for it, but he missed, and the ball flew over top of him, hitting the net hard and falling to the ground. The whistle blew, and they had won.

Toshirou noticed the middle school kids pouting and scowling at Karin and her team, even sending a few nasty glances at him, but he turned and ignored them. Karin's team was celebrating, slapping hands and congratulating each other.

He put his hands in his pockets again and turned slightly, closing his eyes as he listened to their cheers. He heard footsteps, and when Karin talked, she was standing right next to him.

"Thanks, Toshirou," she said again.

"You scored the winning goal, didn't you?" he asked nonchalantly, keeping his eyes closed. Then he remembered something, "Matsumoto!"

"What?" Karin blinked.

He scowled, "I have to find my friend. I'll see you later." He turned and ran off, heading back to Orihime's house. He was off the soccer field and on the sidewalk when he realized he was being followed.

He glanced behind him, still running, to see Karin easily keeping up. When she noticed him looking at her, she narrowed her eyes.

"You can't help someone out, and then leave right afterwards! It's rude."

"I helped you, didn't I? What more do you want?" he demanded.

"Stay and hang with us. I know that the rest of my team wants to tahnk you too."

Toshirou closed his eyes in annoyance, "I have to get my stuff back."

"Why's it so important, anyway? So she keeps a CD for a day or two. Big deal," Karin shrugged.

"It's more than that—" he froze, skidding to a stop. Beside him, Karin winced. "Another one! Dammit!" He wheeled around, starting off again, heading towards the park. Karin took off after him.

"Toshirou, don't!" she called, trying her hardest to keep up. He was practically flying, he was moving so fast. "There's something evil in that direction!"

Hitsugaya looked at her sharply, "Don't follow me, Karin!" he ordered.

She faltered for a minute, before regaining her speed, "If you're taking that monster on, I'm going to help!"

He cursed, "You're just like your brother!"

"You know my brother? How?" Karin demanded.

"Never mind. Just take my word for it and stop following me!"

"No!" she panted.

They continued like this until they reached the park, and Toshirou stopped running. Karin came up beside him and put her hands on her knees, leaning over and panting. He eyed her, surprised she had been able to keep up, and with an injured leg to boot. He fished out his candy dispenser, popped a mod-soul into his mouth, swallowed, and broke into two. His body looked around, and Toshirou turned to it.

"Keep her out of the fight," he ordered, nodding at Karin, who straightened. The minute she saw two Toshirous, she gasped in surprise.

"You're a shinigami too!" she exclaimed, recalling how her brother had done the same thing. Toshirou's body walked firmly over, wrapping his strong arms around her to keep her from entering the fight. Shinigami Toshirou met her gaze.

"Stay here," he told her.

Karin studied him, "How come you have that white coat? And where's your sword?"

Toshirou clenched his fists, "I'm a captain, so I have a white coat that distinguishes me. My sword, however, was what my 'friend' took to get me to play in your game."

"You let someone take your sword?" Karin asked, grinning. "What kind of shinigami are you? No, no. What kind of captain are you?"

He glared at her with cold sea-green eyes, "None of your damn business. For your information, I happen to have fallen asleep, and she snuck in and stole it."

"Still, though…" she looked up thoughtfully. "How embarrassing."

Toshirou opened his mouth, about to argue, when the hollow let out a roar. He instantly turned around and disappeared, leaving only a slight breeze in his wake. Karin's mouth dropped open, and she looked around.

"Where'd he go?"

"He's going to fight the enemy," his body informed her, still keeping his tight hold on her arms. Karin squirmed.

"I have to help him," she glared. "Let go."

Toshirou's body shook his head, "I can't do that. The captain will get angry at me."

Karin closed her eyes in annoyance, and then she slammed her uninjured leg down, digging her heel into his foot. He yelped and let go of her, startled more than hurt. She took off running, breaking through the bushes and heading towards the hollow. Just as she assumed, Toshirou was fighting the monster head on, doing major damage even without the sword.

She grabbed a large rock from the ground and wound up, chucking it at the hollow. It hit the thing square in the face, and it stumbled backwards, stunned momentarily. Toshirou took that moment to do some sort of magic on it, and the hollow instantly broke up into particles, disappearing after letting out one last scream.

The shinigami landed lightly on the ground, whirling to face her, "I told you to keep her away," he narrowed his eyes at his body, who walked through the bushes behind Karin.

"She attacked me," the body responded. "There was nothing I could do."

Toshirou closed his eyes and took a deep breath before walking over and merging with his body. He then turned his stare to Karin, annoyance playing in his eyes, "You weren't supposed to follow me."

"I helped!" Karin protested, slamming her foot down angrily. She cringed; realizing the hard way that the leg she slammed had been her injured one. Toshirou swiftly walked over, looping his arm around her waist and taking hers around his shoulders.

"Come on, I'll get you back to your house so you can bandage that leg of yours. All that running couldn't have been good for it."

"Aww!" another voice cried, and he stopped, looking around before coming face to face with Matsumoto. "See? My meddling did help, Captain!"

His eye twitched, "Matsumoto! There you are. I'm going to wring your neck with my bare hands when this is over!"

"Don't do that, Captain," she held out a sheath, and Karin noticed a fancy hilt coming out of it. "Look, I brought your sword."

"Too little too late," he snapped, snatching the sword. "I already defeated the hollow."

She smiled, "I told you that you were lethal without the sword! And now you have a cute girlfriend, too!"

Karin started, glancing at Toshirou to see that his face was reddening considerably. She looked back at Matsumoto, "He's not my boyfriend."

"She's not my girlfriend," Toshirou stated at the same time.

"Sure, sure," Matsumoto waved it off.

Toshirou narrowed his eyes, "When we get back to Soul Society, so help me god, I will get a new lieutenant."

Matsumoto beamed, "Okay, Captain."

He grumbled something and started leading Karin away, supporting her so that she didn't have to put any more pressure on her leg. Matsumoto took one glance at the two of them and skipped over to Hitsugaya.

"Captain, I'm going back to Orihime's house. See you there!" she happily skipped off, leaving her bitter captain behind.

Karin watched her go, "You're not really going to fire her, are you?"

"No," Toshirou sighed in exasperation. "She's much too good for that."

"Good," she smiled. "I like her. She seems really nice."

He lowered his eyelids, "If you can get past the ditzy, over-annoying sense of humor she has."

Karin laughed, and leaned closer to him, "You know what, Toshirou?"

He glanced at her mildly.

"I'm glad she stole your sword," Karin grinned. "Even if it was a rookie mistake to let her!"


A/N: There, done. Oneshot, people, no more chappies. :) Also, i know that there are a few things wrong with it. Take Matsumoto knowing who Karin was, for one. Just assume that Toshirou told Matsumoto about Karin, okay? I mean, she's not stupid, she picks up on some concepts. Reviews are much loved!